Crispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I loooove starch: pasta, rice, potatoes, you name it. Especially the noodles and the potatoes.  The trouble with the potatoes though, is that baking them takes a while. Yes, I know you can microwave them, but the texture isn’t right.  Or, you can fry them. That’s faster. On the other hand, cutting up and frying French fries still takes a while, uses lots of oil, and it’s messy.  However, there is a solution! The answer is these crispy garlic basil potato bites.  They’re bite size pieces of crispy, fragrant, fluffy potato heaven.

You cook them in a skillet, with just a couple of teaspoons or so of oil, and a bit of butter. Unlike a baked potato, they’re ready in under 25 minutes!  And the only thing you really need to chop is the potato. Yay!

The potatoes end up crispy and brown on the outside, and creamy on the inside. Almost like French fries (but much easier) and with an extra flavor boost from the garlic and the basil.

I adapted this from a recipe that called for making the dish with sage leaves.  I had none, so I used basil leaves instead. It would also be good with rosemary (preferably fresh). The garlic clove is left whole, so it adds lots of flavor without being overpowering.  Also, the recipe said to peel the potatoes, but I’m lazy, so I didn’t bother.  Besides, more vitamins that way!

Not to mention, it’s an easy side dish that doesn’t require a lot of fussing.  And, it goes well with crispy lemon chicken, a lamb chop, or meatloaf.  You can pop the chicken in the oven and then start the potatoes about half way through. Or, start a lamb chop about halfway through cooking the potatoes.  Great with a hamburger too (you may have spotted them in the background of last week’s newsletter).

Crispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 22 minutes

Total Time: 24 minutes

Category: side dish

Cuisine: American

one serving

crispy garlic basil potato bites

Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside, with a burst of flavor from mellow garlic and summery basil.


  • 1 medium to large potato (I used Yukon Gold), scrubbed, and cut into small wedges, about an inch or so
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp canola or neutral oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch ground black  pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp fresh basil leaves


  1. Rinse the potatoes in cool water, and drain them. Use a paper towel to pat them dry.
  2. Heat a small skillet on medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the butter and the oil.
  3. Pour the potato pieces into the pan and cover it.  Turn the heat down to medium and cook the potatoes for 10 minutes.
  4. Rotate them every once in a while, so they brown evenly.
  5. Turn the heat to low, add the garlic, replace the cover, and cook another 10 minutes.
  6. Add the salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you are using and toss it all together.
  7. Transfer to a plate and serve.

Crispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites Substitutions and Variations

  • Use different fresh herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or sage
  • Add more garlic
  • Try some hot pepper flakes
  • Or, add some crispy bacon
  • Try the potatoes with lemon, garlic, and sage

More Potato Side Dish Recipes

skin on garlic mashed potatoesSkin On Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Creamy, buttery, and sweet (yes sweet) from gently cooked garlic that mellows as it cooks.  My sister-in-law is a potato fiend (worse than me) and this is her favorite.


roasted paprika potatoesRoasted Paprika Potatoes

These are tossed in olive oil and dusted with paprika, then cooked slowly in a hot oven.  Crispy outside, fluffy inside.


belgian potato salade liegoiseBelgian Potato Salade Liegoise

This traditional Belgian dish is made with crispy green beans, rich salty kielbasa, and potatoes. It’s savory, filling, and easy.  It’s a one pot salad that’s really a full meal.


roasted root vegetable medleyRoasted Root Vegetable Medley

A colorful mix of tender, sweet root veggies, sprinkled with warm cumin, spicy cayenne, and baked together. Five minutes prep and only one pan.


Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

There are times when a simple recipe is just the thing. This cherry tomato basil frittata takes only a few minutes to prepare and only requires four primary ingredients (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).

Despite its simplicity, it’s full of flavor, even though it only has a few ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to fuss for hours or use a long list of twenty ingredients to get something delicious to eat.

The other nice thing is that it uses ordinary pantry/fridge staples you probably already have in your kitchen. No special shopping trip required!

This is adapted from a recipe I cut out from The New York Times (I think) long ago. I added the goat cheese, since I had a little bit left I wanted to use up. If you don’t have goat cheese, use something else. Any relatively mild cheese would do the trick.

I also reduced the servings, and adjusted the cooking time. The beauty of single servings is that it takes a lot less time to cook and prepare. The original recipe called for 6 eggs and a pound of tomatoes!

This is a great quick lunch, weekend brunch, or even breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s great when you’ve got a bad case of the “hungries.” Add a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a meal.

Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Category: lunch

Cuisine: American

one serving

cherry tomato basil frittata

A quick, easy light lunch or weekend brunch that's ready in under 10 minutes.


  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 T goat cheese
  • 4-5 basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3-5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half


  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the salt and pepper and mix together with a fork.
  2. Add the goat cheese and basil and stir gently.
  3. Add the oil to a small frying pan and heat on medium heat.
  4. Pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pan.Let it cook for 30 seconds to one minute, until the sides of the frittata start to set and look more solid. Pick up the pan and swirl it around so that the eggs cook evenly.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cook for additional 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, and gently remove the frittata from the pan with a spatula.

Substitutions and Variations for Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

  • make it with mozzarella cheese or monterey jack instead of goat cheese
  • add some fresh spinach
  • use a pinch of red pepper flakes in addition to the black pepper
  • swap the plain goat cheese for herbed goat cheese
  • mix up the tomatoes: try one of those yellow/orange/red tomato blends

More Egg and Frittata Recipes

Frittata Recipe for One Person

Spinach and Egg Frittata

Shakshouka for One

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Chicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

I adapted this chicken thigh recipe with peaches and ginger from The New York Times. It’s a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors and I haven’t tinkered with the ingredients very much.

On the other hand, the preparation and cooking instructions were a problem.  The original recipe called for slicing up the chicken thighs into strips, then baking it at high temperature for 20 minutes. I did that the first time I made this and ended up with dry chicken!

The instructions also said to use hard peaches, because unripe peaches are easier to handle and cut up. They probably are, but they’re not as juicy and they don’t taste as nearly as good.

So, I changed the baking time and temperature and swapped hard peaches for ripe ones.

I have used both sherry and brandy for this recipe (though I think the sherry is better). The brandy is sweeter, so it’s a better option if your peaches aren’t as sweet as they should be.  You could also use Cointreau if you have some. I don’t drink enough of any of those to make it worth getting a large bottle, so I get the airline size bottles or at least the smallest bottle I can find.

The revised recipe takes a bit longer, but it’s easy to put together, and doesn’t require a lot of stirring or cutting or steps to make. Just mix up the cut peaches, basil, garlic, and oil, pour the mixture over the chicken, and throw the whole thing in the oven for an hour.

Make some rice to go with it on the side and maybe some green beans and you’ve got a great, easy dinner.  It’s also easy to scale this up for company.

Chicken with Peaches and Ginger for One

Category: entree

Cuisine: American

one serving

chicken with basil peaches and ginger

Chicken with peaches, basil, and ginger for one.


  • 1 medium size ripe peach
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dry fino sherry
  • 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 chicken thigh


  1. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the peach into chunks and discard the pit.
  3. Put the peach pieces to a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (except for the chicken).
  4. Stir the olive oil and peach mixture to combine and coat the garlic pieces.
  5. Place the chicken in a small baking pan (or the tray from your toaster oven) and pour the peach mixture over it.
  6. Roast chicken for one hour.
  7. Garnish with remaining basil.


If you have extra ginger, you can freeze it. Or, store it in some dry sherry.

If you scale it up, this chicken dish is great for company. Just cut everything up and put it in the oven.

Serve it with rice.

More Chicken Thigh Recipes for One Person

Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Strawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

A strawberry basil mojito is cool, refreshing, and the perfect way to relax after a long, hot, summer day.  Much as I love standard mojitos, this version is even better.

The berries add extra sweetness, the basil adds freshness (and the whole combination just shouts “summer!”). Then you get the added sweet-sour citrus punch from the lime.

I use minimal sugar, particularly in June, when the strawberries are at their peak, but you can add more if you like it sweeter, or if the strawberries aren’t sweet enough.

Coating the edge of the glass with sugar and lime juice transforms your everyday mojito cocktail into something that looks like you got it at an upscale restaurant.

Pour your strawberry mojito into a tall glass, slice yourself some cheese, put out some crackers and olives and you have a party for one. Then, close your eyes and pretend you’re lounging on a soft, white beach surrounded by palm trees. Ahhhhhh.

Strawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

Category: cocktail

Cuisine: American

one serving

strawberry basil mojito

A refreshing summer cocktail with strawberries, rum, lime, and basil.


  • 1/4 lime
  • 1 T sugar (add more if you prefer sweeter drinks or if the berries need it)
  • 5-6 strawberries
  • 2T white rum
  • 1/4C seltzer
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • pinch of salt


  1. Run the edge of the fresh lime over a cocktail glass.
  2. Pour the sugar into a shallow dish, turn the glass over and coat the edge with sugar.
  3. Set the glass aside.
  4. If you have a stick blender, add strawberries, rum, the remaining sugar from the dish, seltzer, lime juice, and salt to the beaker. If not, use a standard blender.
  5. Blend everything together.
  6. Pour into a cocktail glass and add ice.
  7. If you want to be extra fancy, crush the ice in the stick blender before you add it. Stir it all up and you have an strawberry slushie for adults.


If you don't have strawberries, or just want some variety, you could use blueberries or raspberries instead of strawberries.

If you have more strawberries, use them to make strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing and feta cheese.

Ingredients and Tools for This Recipe

Cuisinart Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender

Use this to make your mojito, for smoothies, to make salad dressing, to puree soups, or for milkshakes.  The cleanup is minimal (just push a button and remove the part with the blades). It comes in lots of colors, so you can get one to match your kitchen.

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

This pistachio pesto pasta recipe is a bit different from standard pesto recipes. Most standard pesto recipes use basil and pine nuts.  A great combination, but it’s tough to use up a whole bunch of basil when cooking for one.  Either you have to make a big batch of pesto and freeze it, or it spoils.

I do have a basil plant, but cutting enough off to make pesto would leave me without much of a plant! This is a good compromise.

Plus, pine nuts have gotten awfully expensive.  It does have some basil, but I replaced most of it with broccoli. Then I substituted pistachios for walnuts or pine nuts.

Actually, to be entirely truthful, I ‘stole’ this idea from one of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. He seemed to like food as much as he enjoyed mysteries and books (my kind of author).

You get the sweet, summery taste of basil, the earthiness of  broccoli, and the crunchiness of the pistachios (use the unsalted kind).  And frankly, while I love pine nuts, they’ve gotten awfully expensive.  You can use walnuts too, if you prefer.

It’s also quick and easy to make (which is always a plus).

Pasta Pesto with Pistachios

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

pistachio pasta pesto

Quick pasta pesto recipe with pistachios and broccoli


  • 1/4 lb penne
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsp salt
    Pesto Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 C basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1/4C broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 C shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 T grated romano cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • red pepper flakes to taste


  1. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the salt and the pasta. Stir the pasta to keep it from sticking together. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente (firm, but not hard).
    Instructions for Pesto Sauce:
  1. Combine the basil, broccoli, garlic, and pistachios in a mini chopper or blender. Slowly add the olive oil.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cheese, salt to taste and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander. Return the hot pasta to the saucepan, add the pesto, and stir to coat the pasta thoroughly.
  4. Pour sauced pasta into a bowl and garnish with a pinch of red pepper flakes and fresh basil leaves.


You can also use this pesto recipe on chicken or fish.


Pistachio Pesto Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Use spinach in the pesto instead of broccoli
  • Skip the greens entirely and make a walnut pesto with walnuts, olive oil, parsley, parmesan, salt, and pepper
  • If you like your pesto spicier, add some chiles
  • Make it with walnuts instead of pistachios

Tools and Ingredients for Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Roasted Unsalted Pistachios

These are freshly roasted (unlike the stale bags you often get in the store), and already have their shells removed, so you don’t have to fuss with cracking them open. Just pour, measure, and eat.

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Penne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives